MoneypennyCO

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I'm sure this sounds weird, but Google policies precipitate this craziness. :)

Local attorney had set up one of their locations in a Regus and, of course, that location was later suspended by Google.

As fate and humor would have it, this attorney has a friend who owns a pizza shop and has quite a bit of square footage in that building he'd like to rent out.

If said attorney were to lease that space, staff it full time, set up a unique phone number, put signage on the separate external door, etc., would Google consider this a legitimate, non-virtual office location and verify/approve it?

Thank you for your wisdom and expertise in advance. 👍
 

Phil Rozek

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@MoneypennyCO, multi-part answer:

1. Google would most likely "approve" that, at least in the sense that your client would probably be able to verify at that address.

2. Would Google approve OF it, in the sense that the GMB staff who call balls and strikes would say, "Yes, that pizza place is a perfectly legit address for a legal practice"? Probably not. Too much of a Saul Goodman setup.

3. Google is unlikely to give you problems spontaneously, but your client would be vulnerable to Google Maps edits by competitors, or to competitors' filling out the redressal form, or both. In general, Google relies on those kinds of reports to police spam (or alleged spam). It doesn't police spam much itself.

4. Google's guidelines are broad enough that GMB staff can make "know it when we see it" calls. Generally, Google's policy is that an address is valid if you make in-person contact with clients there during stated business hours. If that's the standard, just having the address "staffed" and with signage isn't enough.

That address would probably work for a while, but competitors who want it taken down will probably succeed (sooner or later) in getting it taken down. I wouldn't suggest the setup you describe

On the other hand, if your client's friend can sublet to other businesses, so it's more of a mixed-use commercial building and not just a pizza shop + law firm sandwich, it won't look so questionable.
 

JoyHawkins

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I actually came across a listing for an attorney that operates out of a restaurant (office in the back) the other day and Google was fine with it.

I think you definitely should have external signs for the business though that are visible on street view to avoid people reporting it.
 

MoneypennyCO

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@MoneypennyCO, multi-part answer:

1. Google would most likely "approve" that, at least in the sense that your client would probably be able to verify at that address.

2. Would Google approve OF it, in the sense that the GMB staff who call balls and strikes would say, "Yes, that pizza place is a perfectly legit address for a legal practice"? Probably not. Too much of a Saul Goodman setup.

3. Google is unlikely to give you problems spontaneously, but your client would be vulnerable to Google Maps edits by competitors, or to competitors' filling out the redressal form, or both. In general, Google relies on those kinds of reports to police spam (or alleged spam). It doesn't police spam much itself.

4. Google's guidelines are broad enough that GMB staff can make "know it when we see it" calls. Generally, Google's policy is that an address is valid if you make in-person contact with clients there during stated business hours. If that's the standard, just having the address "staffed" and with signage isn't enough.

That address would probably work for a while, but competitors who want it taken down will probably succeed (sooner or later) in getting it taken down. I wouldn't suggest the setup you describe

On the other hand, if your client's friend can sublet to other businesses, so it's more of a mixed-use commercial building and not just a pizza shop + law firm sandwich, it won't look so questionable.
Thanks so much for taking the time to respond, Phil. You make some excellent points, especially pertaining to what competitors might do to throw a wrench into things after getting set up.
 

MoneypennyCO

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I actually came across a listing for an attorney that operates out of a restaurant (office in the back) the other day and Google was fine with it.

I think you definitely should have external signs for the business though that are visible on street view to avoid people reporting it.
Good to know that others are getting "creative" as well. And yes, external signage would be very important.
 
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